March is pretty awful in Minnesota, if you ask me. My Facebook newsfeed generally fills up with pictures of other people's crocuses coming up, while outside we are still in the dreary, sloppy, sometimes frigid grip of wintry weather.
This year it's been Opposite Day for weeks; we had a two-week-long respite, with temperatures in the mid-fifties and sun, while my Facebook newsfeed filled up with East Coast friends' pictures of drifted snow and blizzards.
Me on Pi Day, probably a new record for earliest run around the lake with the jogging stroller. I'd say earliest spring run but it was still technically winter.
So today I have got a great soup for you! It's cold enough that a steaming bowl of soup and a hunk of bread is exactly what you want for dinner, but don't you want one with the promise of spring-green vegetables to come?
The protein here comes from red lentils -- please don't substitute another kind! -- and chickpeas, but it seems light rather than heavy; the burst of smoky flavor doesn't come from bacon or ham, but from smoked paprika, one of my favorite kitchen secrets. It's light enough to be the "vegetables" that accompany a simple supper of plain baked chicken or fish and rice, and it can be made from start to finish after the chicken goes in the oven. I had the leftovers for lunch today; the kids had pumpkin waffles, and I selected a particularly crisp one to dunk in my soup.
I only adapted this recipe VERY VERY slightly from this one at Once Upon a Chef.
Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup from Jennifer Segal at Once Upon A Chef
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 large carrot diced small
- Heaping 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz), undrained
- 1/3 cup red lentils
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves, optional (I was out of these -- the soup was fine without them)
- 1 tsp salt
- Couple of grinds of black pepper
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- About 12 oz frozen vegetables: green beans and peas, or one of those bags that has cut green beans, corn, carrots, and peas (that's what I used); or spinach.
Sauté the onions in olive oil until soft; add garlic, carrots, smoked paprika, and cumin and cook 2 minutes more.
Add broth, tomatoes, red lentils, thyme, bay leaves if using, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas, cover, and simmer 10 more minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Use immersion blender to puree the soup about halfway -- leave some chunks!
Add remaining vegetables and simmer till hot.